Chilton, Robert Henry (1844–1901)

By: Linda S. Hudson

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: December 1, 1994

Robert H. Chilton, pioneer oculist, was born in Cumberland County, Kentucky, in 1844 to J. Lewis and Martha (Freeman) Chilton. The family moved from Virginia to Kentucky in 1838. Robert attended common schools in Kentucky, where he showed an aptitude for science and medicine. He attended medical school in Louisville, Kentucky, and was on the staff of Louisville City Hospital by the time he was twenty-one years old. He began to study eye, ear, and throat diseases at this time. Chilton was a member of the Kentucky Medical Association. He graduated from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, in 1870 and married Sallie A. Harrison in 1874. They had one daughter, named Bess.

The Chiltons moved in 1880 to Dallas, where he was the first oculist in the Southwest. Chilton was a Mason and a member of the Christian Church, the American Medical Association, and the Texas State Medical Association (later the Texas Medical Association). He invested in real estate in Dallas and built the Chilton Building around 1890. During the later years of his practice he took Dr. John O. McReynolds as his medical partner. Chilton was one of the seventeen charter members of the first Dallas County Medical Society, organized in April 1884. He had a stroke and died on June 6, 1901, in his home in Dallas. He was buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Paris, where several members of his wife's family are also buried. Members of the Dallas Medical Association published a resolution honoring him.

Dallas Morning News, June 8, 1901. Marie Louise Giles, The Early History of Medicine in Dallas, 1841–1900 (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1951). Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County (Chicago: Lewis, 1892; rpt., Dallas: Walsworth, 1976). George Plunkett [Mrs. S. C.] Red, The Medicine Man in Texas (Houston, 1930).
  • Health and Medicine
  • Physicians and Surgeons
  • Ophthalmologists and Optometrists
  • North Texas
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Linda S. Hudson, “Chilton, Robert Henry,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 22, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 1, 1994

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